What Breed is Grace The Therapy Cat?

What Breed is Grace The Therapy Cat?

Dear Dr. Wes:

What kind of breed is Grace? I have an identical cat named Princess that is 24 years old, and very healthy. Just don’t know their breed, but they are highly intelligent as I’m sure you are aware of.


Dear Mark:

My daughter studied this extensively (because that’s what my daughter does) and found that Grace’s breed is most likely a Nebelung, which is the long haired version of a Russian Blue. That’s kind of surprising given that this is sort of a rare breed and Grace came to us as a stray. The name is German and means “creature of the mist,” a reference to the cat’s shimmering silvery-blue coat that seems to float over his body, but they aren’t from Germany, Nebelung’s are from Colorado. They look much like the elegant yet muscular Russian Blue, but with a thick, shimmering, medium-length coat. They run only about 11 lbs. which is high for Grace.

More uncanny than her look is how Grace fits the Nebelung personality, which is described as gentle, quiet, somewhat reserved, but playful and “especially fond of retrieving, jumping or climbing to high places,” which is most certainly Grace (until she fell off the 8 foot high book shelf in my office after misjudging the jump. Oops). Nebelungs study people and situations before making up their minds about whether they want to get involved, as many clients have learned in trying to get to know Grace before she’s ready to get to know them. Guests may not receive a Nebelung’s immediate attention unless they are deemed worthy of notice, but they do have their favored people, to which the cat is ever loyal, following them around and even riding on a shoulder. Grace isn’t very thrilled about shoulder riding but anyone who has seen her knows that she follows people around and rushes to the door at the end of most sessions to escort clients out. In fact, we met Grace when she was following an older couple in our neighborhood. We thought she was out walking with her family, but only later realized she was actually looking for one to join.

Nebelungs are sensitive cat and don’t like to be ignored. In fact, a lack of attention can cause them to become anxious or fearful, as we found when I was gone to Jamaica over the summer. Grace visited Kelsey and the neighbors often, but all noted she was very put out at my absence, and she made me aware of that when I came home. While they love company, Nebelungs are capable of entertaining themselves during the day. Unlike some active, intelligent breeds, Nebelungs are not destructive when left alone. Grace lives at my office, so this is fortunate, though she does like taking eye glasses and knocking papers off the desk.  They are said to have “a strong sense of self-worth and don’t like being made fun of.”

Clients often think Grace’s “mewer is broken” because her voice is more like a chirp. That too is a characteristic of Nebelungs. While we’re pretty sure Grace isn’t a pure breed, we’re equally sure she’s a high percentage Nebulong. Now we just have to learn how to pronounce the name. Another a great thing about Grace is that like most Russian Blue’s and Nebelung’s she’s hypoallergenic! While some argue there’s no science to prove this, Grace has been around numerous people who’ve had serious allergies to cats, and never even elicited a sneeze. Nebelungs require a lot of brushing, which Grace used to like…until she didn’t. Now we have her cut to a lion coat every summer, which she loves. She actually thinks she’s a lion.

They say that if you take the time to develop a relationship with a Nebelung, as you’ve done Mark, your reward will be a deep bond with this loving cat. I certainly have bonded with Grace. If clients want to meet Grace, she resides in Suite A and sits in on most of my sessions and some of Kelsey’s.

Read more at http://cattime.com/cat-breeds/nebelung-cats#uCPe7wsZt3jR7tmd.99

Or watch this video of Nebelung to learn where this breed came from (Denver) and how it came about: https://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/cats-101/videos/nebelung

2 Responses
  1. Aw, beautiful cat. I’ve just adopted my ex-neighbours Nebelung cat as their kids wanted dogs in their new home. He’s been my part time cat for 11 years and he’s very intelligent, good natured and affectionate, maybe a bit more skittish than most cat breeds if there’s too much going on. I wouldn’t say they are hypoallergenic though – 5 years ago I went through months of intermittent breathing problems. My GP just concluded it was stress. After six months of this I woke up in the middle of night completely unable to breathe, saw a big patch of grey fur on the bed and finally the penny dropped I was having problems when big fluffy Frankie had been sleeping on the bed. I was a bit concerned about him moving in and living here all the time, but after three months, initially keeping him off the bed and clearing up his fur regularly my immune system has got used to him. Possibly my regular brushing has helped too (I don’t think the neighbours ever brushed him). Nice to know Grace is giving your clients her special presence, and the fact the real rewards come with time is particularly apt given your work!

    1. How fun to hear from you about your cat. I think these are great cats and Grace, though her own “person” is really good with clients. Of late, she’s increasingly setting on laps (or on the coats and bags people bring, which is apparently very fascinating to her. I do have a HEPA filter in the office and it catches a fair amount of fur. BUT, one of the secrets of keeping her from shedding is that we shave her (at least the vet does) yearly in early June. At first this seemed kind of mean, but the vet assured me “she’d love it.” I wasn’t sure how you determine that cat “loves something,” but sure enough Grace was far wilder and more cat-like after her fur was cut short, tearing around the office and just seeming freer. We actually call it the “lion cut” because she looks like a lion when they leave just a mane and a fluffy tail tip. Clients love it and, the vet was right, Grace seems to love it too. The main thing people react to in a cat is dander, and the fine fur just doesn’t yield it (I guess) the way it appears on my other cats. But loose hair, that could be an issue. Take care and thanks for sharing!

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